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Old 05-13-2013, 10:12 AM   #1
Jocassee OP
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Jocassee skips church, rides thru WNC

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Hey there inmates. My name is Jocassee, and I ride an SV650.

I haven't been riding all winter/spring/winter hardly at all except when a buddy let me borrow a machine for short trips. This weekend, the stars aligned and the clouds parted so I decided to skip church and ride my bike, which I got back from the shop last week.

Better to be on the bike thinking about God than in church thinking about the bike...

At least that's what I tell myself. I'm sure the good Lord understands, in any case.

As you may can guess from my nomme de plume I'm a little partial to the Jocassee Gorges area. Fittingly enough, that's where our journey begins.

I took Highway 11 from Greenville (G-Vegas for y'all that are local). Highway 11 isn't my favorite road in the world, Long and Straight and Boring. However, it is lightly patrolled and mostly free of Things that will Ruin your Day Without Warning. So I took the opportunity to wick the SV up to 115 (which is not bad for someone my size on a slight uphill).

I passed up two nice sets of twisties (US 276 and US178) in search of the gold...SC 130.

There should be a picture here of a nice sweeping curve, clear of gravel with wide shoulders. But there isn't, because I was in a hurry and didn't take pictures. Use your imagination.

I've driven 130 more times than I care to count in the car, and it's fun--but on the bike, it's spiritual. I would like to tell you I blasted through the sweepers without so much as relaxing my grip on the throttle, but I had to take my time going up and I was getting re-adjusted to the bike. It was still fun. About twelve miles up, 130 curves on up to the NC border, where it turns into 281, and Wiginton Road doglegs over to SC 107. I took that left and hopped over the ridge a few miles to 107.

On the way over I passed this overlook (old picture).



Wiginton Road dumps you out a few miles south of the NC line. I turned north and hauled butt up to Cashiers, where the good people were sequestered in the Episcopal and United Methodist churches, and not out on the narrow two-lane trying to kill me or getting in my apexes...

One thing that surprised me was how freakin' COLD it was. All I had on was a an undershirt and my jacket, and no liner. Lucky for me I'm, ahem, insulated, but I was starting to shiver and I was hungry besides so I stopped at Buck's Coffee Cafe in Cashiers. No picture (lazy Jocassee) but it's pretty hard to miss at the intersection of 107 and US 64.

After a delicious sausage egg and cheese sandwich and some black dark roast coffee (tinged with hippy sweat) I was ready to roll.

I had an idea to re-ride some roads I had once done on my old DR650 so headed north again on 107. I had spotted a little Husky DS machine at 11 and 178 as he was pulling into the Conoco there, and again as I was saddling up in Cashiers. Thinking he might be one of our own, I tried to chase him down. I caught him a few miles up the road. He waved me around (thanks Husky Guy!) so I passed him. I thought he might give chase but he turned down 281 instead and I went on. (Husky Guy, if you read this, pop me a PM and we'll ride sometime).

In Cullowhee the road turns into four lanes right before the turnoff to Speedwell.

I stopped at the intersection and pondered my destiny. Just about then a gentleman came up on an orange Strom. Now Strom's are kind of rareish in this neck of the woods so I took a chance and hollered "ARE YOU ON ADVRIDER?" as he pulled up at the light. He hollered back "YES, WELL, SOMETIMES" and was good enough to pull over.

We introduced ourselves on the shoulder. I made the acquaintance of Hugh, AKA SCPiper, and ogled his Strom. We sat on the side of the road for about 20 minutes geeking out about roads, maps, and hardware and generally having a grand ole' time. The road was calling however, so we parted ways--he north and I west--and rode on.

From 107 I turned down Cullowhee Mountain Road, then left on Ellijay Road. That took me up and over the spine of the mountain on some rough single layer tar. Not the SV's prime element--I've got Michelin Pilots on it and the suspension isn't that great--but I hacked it. No blinding speeds, but fun torquing through the uphill turns. G-forces baby. It's all about the G-forces.

To me the most beautiful thing about motorycling is that--done properly--it focuses the mind. Not so much a cleaning effect--more of a temporary sweeping under the rug of Assorted Mental Stuff...

From Ellijay Road, I took a promising left turn on a gravel road appropriately named Little Ellijay. Why, Jocassee, are you taking sport bike down a Gravel Road? I'm glad you asked. Mostly because I can.



gravel, bitches.



After about thirty minutes of gravel, I popped out on Pine Creek Road, a scenic little number that took me through a valley to Lake Glenville, then back to 107.





Mules are kind of cute.



I went north again on 107, but instead of going back to Cullowhee countersteerd left (hehe) and cut down 281 on the Canada Road.

Every time I get onto a good piece of tar in WNC/SC I think "this is my favorite road." I think that went through my mind 5 times yesterday. The reality is, there is some world class tar in WNC and very little of it is on the Parkway or at the Gap. Truth. The whole area is a motorcyclist's playground, and those who have never visited are missing out. Plug over.

One more thing. If you come to WNC for the view's you're in the wrong place. There ain't many. Roads, yes. People, yes. Quirky country stores and fallen-down barns on the sides of mountains and signs with bullet holes. That's North Carolina. Think of it as a road trip through Tolkien's Mirkwood...it's not about the scenery. It's about the ambience.

OK now I'll really shut up.

A few miles down on 281 (and past a section of the road damaged by landslide, yikes) I turned left onto Explorer Road which took me to 215.


pretty


pretty ugly

to be cont'd...
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Jocassee screwed with this post 02-13-2014 at 10:18 AM
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Old 05-13-2013, 10:17 AM   #2
Jon B.
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Nice pics! Not many big hills and twisties in Minnesota.

I think I know you from over at APS...

Jon (aka JonnyB) B.
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Old 05-13-2013, 11:45 AM   #3
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North Carolina 215, aside from being a fantastic stretch of tar, is a pretty good climb, rising from Rosman and crossing the Parkway at 5300 feet. A little VW had blasted past me on Explorer road, and I caught up to him at the last pulloff below the parkway.

Tim had driven out from St Louis and was on his way to the Outer Banks.




Somebody forgot to tell them up here that it was summer.


The asphalt on the other side of the ridge wasn't as even, but it was pretty clean and I made good time.



At the bottom of the ridge, 215 becomes Logan Lake Road. The lake was gorgeous.



A few miles past the lake I popped out on US276 below Canton. The SV was screaming for fuel (solid yellow means GET GAS RFN) so I hunted up a gas station and sat down for a brief snack.


That's right we're rednekkin' it up in heah.

While I was there a shiny yellow GS1200 pulled up. I figured the odds were it was an immate so I strolled over and introduced myself. (Motorcyclists are a chatty bunch). Sure enough, it was Gondolaguy and his wife. We spent a few minutes debating the merits of the GS in eluding law enforcement and the usual roads and conditions gossip.

We parted ways and I began the long trip home.



The last interesting leg of the trip was US 178.

Now let me tell you about 178. Of the 5 roads that go from the SC Piedmont up the Blue Wall, 178 is the best. It is the longest, the cleanest, the curviest. It makes the Dragon look like a garter snake. She is the Queen of Roads and she eats bikes--and bikers--every year.

Before I ever put my ass on a bike I got stuck in a massive traffic jam once in Rocky Bottom. Bike and car had collided. Head on. Never found out who was at fault, but there was nothing left of the bike and the rider was being airlifted out.

That will be the fear in a man, let me tell ya.

But 178 is still my favorite road.

I have heard some say that motorcycling brings them balance. I've said it too, but it's a damned lie. Motorcycling can't bring you balance any more than cocaine does. It's a drug. It makes you feel good. It obliterates the pain. I'm always amazed how much Other Stuff disappears when I'm busy thinking about not scattering little bits of me and the Zuk over the side of a mountain. Stuff like whether the girl who took my heart to New York is going to bring it back this fall, and whether I can keep from going crazy till I see her...

Trying to explain this to people who don't ride--or who only ride Slow Bikes That Can't Corner--is criminally futile. Don't do it. If you find yourself having to justify the Ride to your friends--shut up and either sell the bike or spend more time riding. Or take your friend bike shopping.

Riding is arguably self-destructive, purely as a matter of statistics. For x number of years you are on the road, the odds of you setting the bike down while moving exponentially approaches 1. Motorcyclist knew about the Hockey Stick back when Al Gore was still in diapers. My mom rarely tires of pointing this danger out.

"Yes, Ma," I reply. She knows what's coming.

"I know. If it weren't dangerous it wouldn't be fun."

I wasn't thinking about this yesterday. All I thought about was the road. Two cylinders, two wheels. Trying to keep my skin intact, riding on the Black Magic that we call 178, feeling what bike was telling me about the road. I may have skipped church, but I was praying the bike through some of those corners...

It was beautiful.



I think God understands why motorcyclists skip church.
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Old 05-13-2013, 11:47 AM   #4
Jocassee OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon B. View Post
Nice pics! Not many big hills and twisties in Minnesota.

I think I know you from over at APS...

Jon (aka JonnyB) B.
Yep that's me. Cross forum pollination

These pics did NOT turn out that well, I'm not sure if I had a smudge on the lens or what. Usually they do better. It is what it is.
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Old 05-13-2013, 12:17 PM   #5
klaviator
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You did some of my favorite roads. You're lucky to live so close to such great riding. I need a long weekend to make it over to that area.

One statement You made I will disagree with is that that there aren't many views in WNC. You posted some nice ones. Here's one of my favorites:



Thanks for posting. Makes me want to get back to that area.
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Old 05-13-2013, 09:05 PM   #6
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Well done! Time to map out your ride and go see the things you saw.
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Old 05-16-2013, 11:01 AM   #7
Jocassee OP
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Map


link

http://goo.gl/maps/PSdhA
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Old 05-30-2013, 10:05 AM   #8
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Went for a short jaunt up 178, across 64, then up 28 from Highlands on Sat. Left my friend from Arizona to fend for himself thru the dragon and I rode back to G-Vegas via Walhalla so I took 28 all the way back down which was FABULOUS.









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Old 05-30-2013, 12:24 PM   #9
kitesurfer
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good RR...Jesus did not go to church, he went up on the mountain!

it must be nice to live that close to God's country. i've ridden all those roads and 178 might be my favorite, or maybe 28. unfortunately, i need 4 days for that ride. I much prefer your area to deals gap/cherocola area. i'm also a fan of north ga...
and i got my furlow notice today so i will be getting 11 three day weekends :)
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Old 05-30-2013, 02:11 PM   #10
klaviator
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STOP! STOP! STOP!

You're driving me crazy with all these pics of my favorite roads. I've been too busy to make it up that way this year

Oh well, the second half of the year should be better and I will make it up that way

Keep enjoying the ride.
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Old 05-30-2013, 02:23 PM   #11
Jocassee OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klaviator View Post
STOP! STOP! STOP!

You're driving me crazy with all these pics of my favorite roads. I've been too busy to make it up that way this year

Oh well, the second half of the year should be better and I will make it up that way

Keep enjoying the ride.
Come up and see me y' hear...

My own schedule is pretty erratic but I get some weekends off so if ya do mosey this way pop me an IM and we'll see what's up.

Not WNC but Altamont Road is a hidden gem behind Paris Mtn just 10 mins from the City of G-Vegas...

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Old 05-30-2013, 02:52 PM   #12
LWRider
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I was just in your neck of the woods on between May 17 and 21 on my Bonneville T100. On 17th and 18th my brother (he lives in Inman) and I rode BRP, 215, and 281/130. Stayed on the 17th at the campground just south of Devils Fork SP (it was full) on Lake Jocassee. After leaving my bro I went up on the north side then west and south of the Smokies, before ending up in North GA on 129 at Vogel SP where I met up with fellow inmate kurtzinpa and got to experience riding 180 and 60.

I love your area and, yes, 178 is fantastic. I get up there fairly often. Next time we'll have to go riding.

Cheers,

Mike, back in Florida now...sigh
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Old 05-31-2013, 07:31 AM   #13
Jocassee OP
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Took a short trip up the escarpment yesterday evening.





Curvy Road...love this one


Geeses!


Gotta be careful on this one...


Wascally Wabbit


There we are...


Little garden by the road


Yes please


Headed back home


Sunset which my android could not do justice to
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Old 10-06-2013, 04:01 PM   #14
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Personal drama in my life. Don't feel sorry for me, I created it. So like Brave Sir Robin, I ran away....

North Georgia this time.









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Old 10-06-2013, 04:06 PM   #15
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